Teenager who stole his dog back escapes prosecution

A New Zealand teenager faced legal action after he stole his own puppy from a clinic to save it from euthanasia because his family could not afford the expensive surgery it needed after it was hit by a car.

However, locals rallied around for Bronson Stewart and his five-month-old puppy Buck yesterday. After reading about the story, they raised enough money to save the dog.

After Buck was hit by a car two weeks ago, neither Stewart, 19, nor his father Kevin could afford the NZ$2,500 (£1,100) needed for the puppy's broken leg to be pinned back together, or the $800 for the leg to be amputated. The family offered to pay $3.50 a week, but the veterinary clinic in Wanganui, on the North Island, declined. The vet refused to return the dog to them and said it was best he was put to sleep because he was in agony.

Stewart went to the clinic last Friday and asked to see Buck. He then grabbed the puppy and ran home. He was facing prosecution for animal cruelty unless he got care for the dog. But after the story was publicised, locals came to the rescue.

Wanganui SPCA (Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals) manager Val Waters told New Zealand Press Association that people had donated $624 – which should be enough to pay for the surgery. "The dog will be just fine," she said.